The recent November elections had a heavy focus on conservative fiscal policy and an emphasis on cutting “big government spending.” In light of this, “[Sen. Claire] McCaskill and fellow Democrat Sen. Mark Udall (Colo.) recently teamed up with Republican Sens. Tom Coburn (Okla.) and John McCain (Ariz.) to introduce an earmark amendment to the Food Safety Modernization Act that would impose a three-year ban on pork spending. Unlike the Senate GOP’s moratorium, this ban would be binding.” (For a good laugh, listen to Laura Ingraham’s recent interview with Sen. McCaskill.)
I don’t know what to make of this proposed legislation. On one hand, the whole notion of earmarks and pork barrel spending encourages many impractical pet projects from doofy legislators. To see their ban would send a message to the fiscally irresponsible politicians, on both sides of the aisle, who misuse (our) federal tax dollars. On the other hand, “eliminating 100 percent of earmarks in fiscal 2010 would have cut the federal budget by less than one-half of one percent.” In other words, earmarks are close to the least of our worries. My fear is that this legislation will give the American people an illusion of government fiscal restraint, while our politicians continue to spend recklessly, causing a rather unwarranted feeling of security or success.
I suppose I’m glad at the prospect of eliminating earmarks. It will probably make me less skeptical of government spending… by about .5%. I hope John Boehner has more creative ideas for his new House.